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  • The Globe and Mail describes a salvage archaeology operation in Cape Breton, on the receding shores of Louisbourg at Rochefort Point.

  • Katie Ingram at MacLean's notes
  • The National Observer reports on how Québec has effectively banned the oil and gas industry from operating on Anticosti Island.

  • This La Presse article talks about letting, or not, the distant Iles-de-la-Madeleine keep their own Québec electoral riding notwithstanding their small population.

  • Will the Bloc Québécois go the way of the Créditistes and other Québec regional protest movements? Éric Grenier considers at CBC.

  • The National Post describes the remarkable improvement of the Québec economy in recent years, in absolute and relative terms. Québec a have?

  • Francine Pelletier argues Québec fears for the future have to do with a sense of particular vulnerability.

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  • Centauri Dreams considers the challenges and the prospects of laser SETI.

  • Citizen Science Salon reports on a couple who have done their best to keep their bee numbers up.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that Milo's book, contrary to Milo's claims, has performed very badly indeed in the UK, among other places.

  • Language Log features a poetic digression by Victor Mair on Chinese characters for words like "plum" and "wine."

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests that moderate Republicans in Congress might not be all that.

  • The LRB Blog considers Nice at, and after, the time of last year's terrorist attacks.

  • Marginal Revolution features Tyler Cowen's description of his writing processes.

  • Drew Rowsome interviews Toronto gay photographer Dylan Rosser.

  • Unicorn Booty looks back at the history of the queercore movement--gay punk, as a first approximation.

  • Vintage Space links to an article explaining why there was neither an Apollo 2 nor an Apollo 3.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests the Russian state is undermining various once-allied Russian nationalist movements.

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  • Citizen Science Salon links to some ongoing crowdsourced experiments that non-scientists can take part in.

  • The LRB Blog reports on the return of Newt Gingrich to the American political scene.

  • The NYR Daily compares Donald Trump to a 19th century counterpart, Andrew Jackson.

  • Roads and Kingdoms reports on the now rather different cocaine problem of Medellín, Colombia.

  • Starts with a Bang's Ethan Siegel reports on a paper suggesting potential problems with gravitational observatory LIGO.

  • Towleroad notes a recent sharp drop in new HIV diagnoses in the United Kingdom, thanks to treatment and PrEP.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on projected long-run economic decline in Russia, argues about the potential for instability in Tatarstan, and reports on Belarusianization.

  • Arnold Zwicky describes Silver Age Rainbow Batman and his later pride appearances.

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  • Language Hat blogs about appearances of Nahuatl in Los Angeles, in television and in education.
  • Language Log talks about "Zhonghua minzu", meaning "Chinese nation" or "Chinese race" depending on the translation.

  • Marginal Revolution notes that Canada, with inelastic production, might have a marijuana shortage come legalization/
  • In the NYR Daily, Christopher de Bellaigue wonders if Britain--the West, even--might be on the verge of a descent into communal violence.

  • Peter Rukavina looks at the accessibility of VIA Rail's data on trade arrivals and departures.

  • Starts with a Bang's Ethan Siegel notes that, in the far distant starless future, the decay of binary brown dwarf orbits can still start stars.

  • Torontoist shares photos of the Dyke March.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that Tatarstan's tradition of bourgeois and intellectually critical nationalism could have wider consequences, in Russia and beyond.

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  • The Big Picture shares shocking photos of the Portuguese forest fires.

  • blogTO notes that, happily, Seaton Village's Fiesta Farms is apparently not at risk of being turned into a condo development site.

  • Centauri Dreams notes a new starship discussion group in Delft. Shades of the British Interplanetary Society and the Daedalus?

  • D-Brief considers a new theory explaining why different birds' eggs have different shapes.

  • The Frailest Thing's Michael Sacasas commits himself to a new regimen of blogging about technology and its imports. (There is a Patreon.)

  • Language Hat notes the current Turkish government's interest in purging Turkish of Western loanwords.

  • Language Log's Victor Mair sums up the evidence for the diffusion of Indo-European languages, and their speakers, into India.

  • The LRB Blog notes the Theresa May government's inability post-Grenfell to communicate with any sense of emotion.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen wonders if the alt-right more prominent in the Anglophone world because it is more prone to the appeal of the new.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw wonders if Brexit will result in a stronger European Union and a weaker United Kingdom.

  • Seriously Science reports a study suggesting that shiny new headphones are not better than less flashy brands.

  • Torontoist reports on the anti-Muslim hate groups set to march in Toronto Pride.

  • Understanding Society considers the subject of critical realism in sociological analyses.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how Russia's call to promote Cyrillic across the former Soviet Union has gone badly in Armenia, with its own script.

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at the complex prebiotic chemistry in the system of young triple IRAS 16293-2422.

  • Language Hat looks at the central role played by Kyrgzystan writer Chinghiz Aitmatov in shaping Kyrgyz identity.

  • The Map Room Blog shares Baltimore's new transit map.

  • Steve Munro examines the Ford family's various issues with TTC streetcars.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog reports on the latest UN Report on the Donbas and the conflict there.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that the number of ethnic Russians in the former Soviet Union fallen sharply through demographic change including assimilation.

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  • Crooked Timber enthuses over the remixing, or remastering, of arguably the Beatles' most iconic album.

  • Far Outliers notes the Albanian language's alphabet struggles in the wider geopolitics of Albania.

  • Joe. My. God. notes an American soccer player opted to quit rather than to wear a Pride jersey.

  • Language Hat notes a new online atlas of Algonquian languages.

  • The NYRB Daily argues that Theresa May's election defeat makes the fantasy of a hard Brexit, at least, that much less possible.

  • Window on Eurasia notes Russia's concern at the dissipation of the prestige of its language and script its former empire, especially in Ukraine.

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  • blogTO notes that the old HMV store in the Dufferin Mall is now a fidget spinner store. This has gone viral.
  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly talks about her week in Paris.

  • Centauri Dreams notes one paper examining the complex formation of the dense TRAPPIST-1 system.

  • Far Outliers reports from early 20th century Albania, about how tribal and language and ethnic identities overlap, and not.

  • Language Log notes efforts to promote Cantonese in the face of Mandarin.

  • The LRB Blog wonders if May's electoral defeat might lead to the United Kingdom changing its Brexit trajectory.

  • Marginal Revolution notes that cars have more complex computer programming these days than fighter jets.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes that the counter-cyclical Brazilian fiscal cap still makes no sense.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that Russia is edging towards an acknowledgement of its involvement in the Ukrainian war.

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The National Post has a feature from Graeme Hamilton noting the controversy associated in Québec with the flag of the Patriote rebels of 1837.

On May 22, as the rest of Canada celebrates Victoria Day, Quebecers will get a day off in honour of les Patriotes, the 19th-century rebels who fought to bring responsible government to what is now Quebec. It’s no surprise that the mostly French-speaking province isn’t terribly keen on paying tribute to a long-dead British monarch, and such Patriote leaders as Louis-Joseph Papineau, Jean-Olivier Chénier and Wolfred Nelson are worthy of celebration. Yet last week, Quebec’s Liberal government angered nationalists by blocking a proposal to have the Patriote flag fly above the legislature in Quebec City.

Q: Who were the Patriotes?

Charles Alexander Smith via Wikipedia
Charles Alexander Smith via Wikipedia"Assemblée des six-comtés", a painting depicting the Assembly of the Six Counties, held in Saint-Charles, Lower Canada on October 23 and October 24, 1837
A: The Patriotes was the name given to Papineau’s Parti canadien and the popular movement he and others inspired to rise up against British colonial rule in 1837-38. “The primarily francophone party, led mainly by members of the liberal professions and small-scale merchants, was widely supported by farmers, day-labourers and craftsmen,” the Canadian Encyclopedia says. They advocated democracy and the right to self-government, but at the same time they were in no hurry to get rid of the seigneurial system. After the rebellion was crushed, many participants were imprisoned, exiled or hung.

Q: What is the Patriote flag?

A: The flag was introduced in 1832 by Papineau’s political party and was carried at political speeches and into battle during the rebellion. It is a simple design consisting of three horizontal bars, green, white and red from top to bottom. The flag was seen by the Montreal aristocracy as a revolutionary symbol, and in 1837 the Montreal Herald wrote urging people to destroy it. Some early versions also featured a beaver, a maple leaf or a maskinonge fish. Today, the flag often has the profile of a musket-toting, toque-wearing, pipe-smoking rebel superimposed in the centre.
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  • blogTO looks at deserted Mirvish Village.

  • Crooked Timber reenages with the Rachel Carson and DDT myth.

  • The Crux looks at the Mandela Effect, exploring false memories.

  • Dangerous Minds makes the case for the musical genius of Bobbie Gentry.

  • From the Heart of Europe's Nicholas Whyte recounts his visit to Albania's bunker museum.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Brazil's retirement of its only aircraft carrier.

  • The LRB Blog looks at the extent and speed of events in the Trump Administration.

  • Marginal Revolution engages with a book examining France's carving out a "cultural exception" in international trade agreements.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw reports on the passing of rulership of the Australian micronation of Hutt River.

  • Peter Rukavina shares good advice for visiting museums: visit only what you can take in.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at Russian Orthodox Church opposition to a certain kind of Russian civic nationality, and argues Russia is losing even its regional superpower status.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell reports on how local councils in the United Kingdom are speculating on commercial property.

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  • Centauri Dreams notes the sad news that, because of the destructive way in which the stellar activity of young red dwarfs interacts with oxygen molecules in exoplanet atmospheres, Proxima Centauri b is likely not Earth-like.

  • Crooked Timber takes issue with the idea of Haidt that conservatives are uniquely interested in the idea of purity.

  • D-Brief notes the discovery of an intermediate-mass black hole in the heart of 47 Tucanae.

  • The Dragon's Tales reports on the search for Planet Nine.Far Outliers reports on the politics in 1868 of the first US Indian Bureau.

  • Imageo maps the depletion of sea ice in the Arctic.

  • Language Hat remembers the life of linguist Patricia Crampton.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes some of the potential pitfalls involved with Buy American campaigns (and like political programs in other countries), including broad-based xenophobia.

  • The LRB Blog looks at nationalism and identity in their intersections with anti-Muslim sentiment in Québec.

  • The Map Room Blog links to an essay on the last unmapped places.

  • Torontoist notes the 2017 Toronto budget is not going to support affordable housing.

  • Transit Toronto reports on TTC revisions to its schedules owing to shortfalls in equipment, like buses.

  • Window on Eurasia claims that Putin needs a successful war in Ukraine to legitimize his rule, just as Nicholas II needed a victory to save Tsarism.

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  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly describes a week in her life as a freelance writer.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes how the Indus Valley Civilization did, and did not, adapt to climate change.

  • Language Log reshares Benjamin Franklin's writings against German immigration.

  • The NYRB Daily follows one family's quest for justice after the shooting by police of one Ramarley Graham.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at the Pale of Settlement.

  • Torontoist looks at Ontario's food and nutrition strategy.

  • Transit Toronto reports on how PRESTO officials will be making appearances across the TTC in coming weeks to introduce users to the new system.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at how ethnic minorities form a growing share of Russian emigration, looks at the manipulation of statistics by the Russian state, and suggests Putin's actions have killed off the concept of a triune nation of East Slavs.

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  • Centauri Dreams shares a proposal for the relatively rapid industrialization of space in a few short years using smart robots with 3d printign technology.

  • To what extent, as Crooked Timber speculates, the Arthurian myth complex science fictional?

  • Dangerous Minds shares a lovely middle-finger-raised candle.

  • The Dragon's Gaze looks at the interactions between atmospheres and rotation for super-Earths and Venus-like worlds.

  • Joe. My. God. notes Wikileaks' call for Trump's tax returns.

  • Language Hat shares some words peculiar to Irish English.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the words of Trump are meaningless.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cown considers some scenarios where nuclear weapons may end up being used.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at births and deaths in Russia between 2000 and 2015.

  • Savage Minds considers, inspired by the recent Michel Foucault read-in protest to Trump, the relationships between Foucault's thinking and racism.

  • Window on Eurasia calls for a post-imperial Russian national identity, argues that Trump's assault on globalization will badly hurt a Russia dependent on foreign trade and investment, and wonders what Putin's Russia can actually offer Trump's United States.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell offers a unique strategy for journalists interested at penetrating Trump's shell: trick them into over-answering.

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  • Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith notes that his husky loves the winter that has descended on Ottawa.

  • blogTO notes Toronto's continuing housing price spikes.

  • D-Brief notes that chimpanzees apparently are built to recognize butts.

  • Dead Things reports on discoveries of the first land vertebrates.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes the weird patterns of KIC 8462852.

  • Marginal Revolution considers Westworld's analogies to the Haitian Revolution.

  • Steve Munro looks at the latest on the TTC budget.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the controversial nature of the new official doctrine of Russia's nationhood.

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For the past couple of winters, I've been feeling as if I live in a foreign country.

Canadians self-define their country as a northern one, verging on the Arctic. This is true, and yet, most of the major population centres of Canada--the great Windsor-Québec City corridor, the Maritimes, Vancouver, Winnipeg, even--are concentrated in the extreme south of the country. In terms of latitude, all of these cities are located considerably further to the south than many European cities we think of regularly, not just as peers but as warmer destinations. It is the Gulf Stream that keeps Europe warm, that gives Tallinn (for instance) the chance to enjoy a climate significantly more clement than the northern Manitoba port of Churchill.

This has been changing in the past couple of years. It hit me most strongly last year, just before Christmas, when I went out for lunch with a friend (hi Mark!). He was wearing bike shorts, and comfortable wearing them. Why not? It was 15 degrees out. Afterwards, I got out of the TTC at Spadina station and just stood for a moment, looking at the Annex around me. It was 4 o'clock, and starting to get dark, and yet it was warm.

Canada, unlike Europe, doesn't have a Gulf Stream. It does share in the greenhouse effect that is already contributing to record winter highs in the Arctic, and elsewhere.
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The Toronto Star's Azzura Lalani explains why the gray jay, Canada's new national bird, does not have the Canadian "grey" in its name.

Canadians haven’t wasted much time since the gray jay was named Canada’s national bird on Wednesday asking why its name is spelled the American way.

“We wholeheartedly agree that the Canadian/British spelling of “grey” would be preferable, but this is the species’ official name,” said Nick Walker, managing editor of Canadian Geographic magazine in an email to the Star. “As a journalistic publication, we must honour proper names of birds and other animals even when they conflict with Canadian spellings.”

What Walker would most like to see, he added, is for “gray jay” to be changed to “Canada jay,” which is what the bird was known as for about 200 years until the label was changed in 1957.

“Grey,” the British spelling of the colour, is the more common spelling in Canada, but it wasn’t always that way, said University of Toronto linguistics professor J.K. Chambers in an email.

“Until the 1700s, spelling was flexible. In Canada, we have a long history of accepting either British or American standards . . . . Because we are Canadian, we also accept ‘gray’ for ‘grey.’ ”
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Madeleine Bunting's essay at The Guardian arguing that the Hebrides have played an outsize role in the formation of British national identities caught my attention.

For a century, Jura has been an anomaly: remote, but under 100 miles from Glasgow or Edinburgh; sparsely populated, yet associated with periodic influxes of the powerful, wealthy and glamorous in search of space and privacy. Appropriately, one of the most bizarre artistic statements about wealth was made on Jura in 1994, when the two members of the pop group the KLF filmed themselves burning £1m in banknotes in a disused boathouse at Ardfin.

George Orwell heard of Jura from Astor, his editor, who regaled him with stories of its beauty and fishing – irresistible to the enthusiastic angler. Orwell, chafing at the restrictions and privations of wartime London, wrote in his diary in 1940 that he was “thinking always of my island in the Hebrides”. He had to wait until 1946 to make the journey, and it turned out to be a melancholy pilgrimage in the aftermath of the deaths of his mother, wife and a sister within the space of three years. But he was enraptured: “These islands are one of the most beautiful parts of the British Isles and largely uninhabited.” He added: “Of course it rains all the time but if one takes that for granted, it doesn’t seem to matter.”

Britain’s understanding of itself – its identity and its place in the world – is deeply rooted in being an island. Yet Great Britain is not an island; it is made up of at least 5,000 islands, around 130 of which are inhabited. But this geographical reality has often been ignored, because island, in the singular, brings with it the attractive characteristics of inviolability, steadfastness and detachment. As one clergyman put it in a sermon praising the Act of Union with Scotland of 1707: “We are fenced in with a wall which knows no master but God only.”

Even more erroneously, England is sometimes described as an island. Martin Amis wrote a television essay on England in 2014, which began with images of waves pounding chalk cliffs and the quintessential English mistake: “England is an island nation.” England in fact shares its island with other nations – Scotland and Wales – yet the language of sharing, of being part of an archipelago, has not featured in the English nation’s self-image.

British culture has a long-standing love affair with islands. In Utopia, Thomas More wrote how King Utopos created an island from an isthmus by digging a channel 15 miles wide. Britain’s detachment from continental Europe brought a degree of protection from invasion, and was seen as God’s geographical blessing for a chosen, favoured people. Shakespeare bequeathed a trove of vivid images of England in John of Gaunt’s speech in Richard II: “This little world”; “This blessed plot”. But there has also been an English ambivalence about islands; in a comparably famous passage, John Donne warned of the dangers of separation in his Meditation XVII: “No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
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  • Beyond the Beyond notes an upcoming exhibition of photos of Vaclav Havel.

  • blogTO notes a local controversy over the demolition of a community-built skate park.

  • Centauri Dreams considers how advanced starfaring civilizations might deal with existential threats.

  • Crooked Timber looks at how presidential debates could be used to teach logic.

  • Language Hat examines the origins of the evocative Slavic phrase "they perished like Avars."

  • Language Log notes how "Molotov cocktail" was confused by a Trump manager with "Mazel tov cocktail".

  • The LRB Blog notes Brexit-related insecurity over the rule of law in the United Kingdom.

  • The Map Room Blog notes an exhibition in Maine of Acadian-related maps.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at how the Hong Kong press has been influenced by advertisers.

  • The NYRB Daily looks an exhibition of abstract expressionism.

  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at what we can learn from Rosetta.

  • Savage Minds considers the place of archeology in anthropology.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at Belarus' commemoration of the Bolshevik Revolution and considers the dispute in Kazakhstan as to whether the country should be known as Qazaqstan.

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  • blogTO warned yesterday of impending snowfall.

  • Centauri Dreams considers if planets in the circumstellar habitable zones of red dwarfs, like Proxima Centauri b, might tend to be ocean worlds.

  • Crooked Timber tries to track down the source of some American electoral maps breaking down support for candidates finely, by demographics.

  • D-Brief shares stunning images of L1448 IRS3B, a nascent triple stellar system.

  • Joe. My. God. notes the advent of same-sex marriage in Gibraltar.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that, the last time the Cubs won, Russia was run by Romanovs.

  • Maximos62 meditates on Bali as a plastic civilization.

  • The NYRB Daily reflects on how the Beach Boys have, and have not, aged well.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw looks at un- and underemployment in Australia.

  • Torontoist looks at what we can learn from the dedicated bus routes of Mexico City.

  • Understanding Society looks at economics and structural change in middle-income countries.

  • Window on Eurasia notes one man's argument that Russians should be privileged as the only state-forming nation in the Russian Federation, and shares another Russia's argument against any idea of Belarusian distinctiveness.

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Henry McDonald in The Guardian looks at how Brexit is encouraging pro-Union people in Northern Ireland to reconsider their territory's identity, perhaps even allegiances.

When Britain voted for Brexit, a strange thing happened in North Down, an affluent, unionist-dominated area of Northern Ireland with a strong sense of British identity.

As the results came in it became clear North Down had other affinities: European. The area voted in favour of staying in the EU, as the majority of people in Northern Ireland did.

The outcome of June’s referendum triggered a summer of speculation. Had attitudes changed? If unionists saw EU membership as important, might they reconsider their ancient hostility to reunification with Ireland?

Some asked if there should be a “border poll”, a referendum on whether Northern Ireland should stay in the UK or join the Irish Republic. Others feared a push by Scotland towards independence could fatally undermine unionist confidence in the unity of the UK.

But passions quickly cooled. Politicians, among them Bertie Ahern, the former Irish prime minister, said the time wasn’t right for a reunification vote.

In unionist strongholds voters stress that pro-remain is not the same as a pro-reunification. Even diehard loyalists say they are opposed to any “hard border” with the Irish Republic post-Brexit.

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